Can AI write good cycling tech coverage?

can Chat GPT AI provide good cycling tech coverage?

With all the hype around AI-generated content, I wondered, could Chat GPT create good coverage of a couple recent product launches.

To test my theory, I chose two products – the ENVE MOG gravel bike, and the 2023 SRAM Force AXS drivetrain.

I wanted one that launched a week ago, and one that launched today, to see how well the AI could find information for things that just launched, and that launched very recently but had enough time for a lot of original content to spread throughout the web.

Here’s how Chat GPT’s coverage compared to mine:

ENVE MOG – AI versus Professional Journalist

ENVE MOG gravel adventure bike with 700x50 tire clearance shown laying on dirt

Query used:

Give me two paragraphs with all the important tech details about the new ENVE MOG gravel bike

Chat GPT’s summary:

The ENVE MOG gravel bike is a high-performance gravel bike designed for avid cyclists who want a lightweight, responsive bike that can handle rough terrain. The frame is made of carbon fiber, which is both strong and lightweight, and the bike features a full-carbon fork and seatpost as well. The bike’s geometry is optimized for gravel riding, with a longer wheelbase for stability and a lower bottom bracket for better stability on loose terrain.

The MOG features a 1x drivetrain, with a wide-range cassette and a single chainring up front. This design reduces weight and simplifies shifting, making it easier to ride on rough terrain. The bike also features hydraulic disc brakes, which provide excellent stopping power and modulation, even in wet or muddy conditions. The ENVE MOG gravel bike is available in a range of sizes to fit riders of all heights and is designed to accommodate both 700c and 650b wheels for maximum versatility.

My Summary:

The all-new ENVE MOG gets all the best standards to create a proper gravel adventure bike that you can also race. 700x50mm tire clearance, a T47 bottom bracket, fork & top tube bag mounts, and hidden fender mounts are standard.

Ultra-sleek internal routing through their fully integrated cockpit is gorgeous, but the real surprises are the in-frame storage with two included neoprene bags that slide in under the bottle cage cover port, and a SRAM UDH derailleur hanger out back.

Six frame sizes are made in ENVE’s Asian factory, customizable with your choice of four handlebars and two Aero Integrated stems, in whatever width & length you want, to create a ready-to-build $5,500 chassis. Upgrade with ENVE wheels, dropper post, that new CIM bottle cage, etc. Available now thru dealers, including Colorado Cyclist & BTD.

Analysis:

Yes, my summary is three paragraphs, but my target with most new products is to cover them in two, so I wanted to see what Chat GPT could do with that constraint.

Despite the extra paragraph, I’m still more succinct (135 words, 820 characters) compared to Chat GPT (156 words, 939 characters).

Chat GPT’s coverage is extremely superficial, probably good for a pop-culture title focused on health and exercise trends. Mine is more focused on the specific technical details that an avid cyclist would be interested in knowing.

It also has some questionable data. ENVE specifically says the MOG is designed around 700c wheels and not intended to be ridden with 650b, and it doesn’t really have a “longer wheelbase” for the category…but compared to ENVE’s road bike it does, so I’ll let that one slide.

Otherwise, it’s accurate, but you could substitute almost any modern “Brand, Model” in there and it would also be accurate.

It’s not fair to ding the AI for not linking to relevant content and retailers because that wasn’t part of the query, but I was curious if it could produce more technical details specific to the MOG with a better query.

So, I tried again…

Followup Query:

Can you try again and include more technical details about the frame and its specific features?

Chat GPT’s response:

Certainly! The ENVE MOG gravel bike is a high-performance bike that is designed to deliver an exceptional riding experience on rough and challenging terrain. At the heart of the MOG is a lightweight and strong carbon fiber frame that is engineered for stiffness and responsiveness. The frame features ENVE’s patented twin-tube design, which optimizes ride quality by isolating the rider from road vibrations and impacts. The MOG’s carbon fiber layup is also carefully designed to maximize power transfer, ensuring that every watt of energy you put into the pedals goes directly into propelling the bike forward.

The MOG also features a full-carbon fork and seatpost, which further enhance the bike’s stiffness and reduce weight. The fork is designed with a tapered steerer tube and thru-axle dropouts, which provide precise handling and improved stability on rough terrain. The seatpost is also engineered for comfort, with a carefully designed layup that helps to absorb road vibrations and impacts, allowing you to ride harder and longer with less fatigue.

In terms of geometry, the MOG features a longer wheelbase for stability, a lower bottom bracket for better control on loose terrain, and a slack headtube angle for improved handling at speed. The bike also features a 1x drivetrain with a wide-range cassette and a single chainring up front. This design reduces weight and simplifies shifting, making it easier to ride on rough terrain. Finally, the MOG is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, which provide excellent stopping power and modulation, even in wet or muddy conditions. Overall, the ENVE MOG gravel bike is a top-of-the-line machine that is designed for serious cyclists who demand the best in performance, comfort, and versatility.

Analysis:

Without the “two paragraph” parameter, it went long, but that’s my fault. As in most cases, the quality of the question helps determine the quality of the answer.

But, this one is mostly a longer version of the first one and equally generic. And it adds some questionable (if not erroneous) information.

I Googled “ENVE MOG twin tube design” just to make sure I didn’t miss something about this bike, but found nothing. So I have no idea where this piece of information came from, but it’s clearly wrong.

Like this? Share it with a friend!

OK, let’s see how it does with…

SRAM Force AXS – AI versus Editor

sram force axs tech coverage provided by chat gpt ai versus a pro tech cycling journalist

The Query:

Give me two paragraphs with technical details about the new 2023 SRAM Force AXS road bike drivetrain that launched today?

Chat GPT’s Response:

The 2023 SRAM Force AXS road bike drivetrain launched today is a top-of-the-line offering from SRAM that incorporates several new technical features. At the heart of the system is the new Force eTap AXS wireless shifting technology, which enables precise and effortless gear changes with just a touch of a button. The system uses a unique encryption protocol to ensure secure communication between the shifter and derailleur, while also allowing for customization of the shifting sequence and behavior through the AXS app. The system is also compatible with SRAM’s existing Quarq power meter technology, enabling riders to track and analyze their performance data in real-time.

The drivetrain also features a new cassette design with wider gear range options, including a 10-36T option that provides greater climbing ability without sacrificing gear ratios on the flats. The cassette is made of a lightweight, yet durable, aluminum material that reduces weight while maintaining the strength needed for rigorous road riding. Additionally, the derailleur features a new cage design that provides smoother shifting and improved chain retention, while also reducing the likelihood of chain drop during high-speed descents. Overall, the 2023 SRAM Force AXS road bike drivetrain offers a highly customizable, secure, and high-performing shifting system that is sure to appeal to serious road cyclists.

My Summary:

The new SRAM Force AXS group gets lighter and better by borrowing the best features of Red and Rival, and a sparkly new Unicorn Gray finish that shimmers in the sun. The crankarms carry over, but get a Red-level one-piece 2x chainring that saves a lot of weight, with or w/o integrated power meter.

The hoods borrow Rival’s slimmer shape and bring the levers closer to the bar. A new, textured shift paddle is longer so it’s easier to tap, but shallower so it won’t hit the bar or your fingers when braking hard. Combined, it adds up to a group with better performance, ergonomics & looks that drops 94g (and the eTap moniker!)…all with no price increase!

Analysis:

Chat GPT’s response (211 words, 1,395 characters) reads almost exactly like SRAM’s PR, which makes me think it’s probably pulling from a combination of older AXS information, which is bolstered by its inclusion of “Force eTap AXS” in the 2nd sentence – with this launch, SRAM has dropped the “eTap” moniker from their product names.

There’s also nothing specific to this new group, even the basics like the new color, revised hood shapes, or one-piece cranks.

I’m not even sure how I could re-word my query to ask for more specific information (turns out, it doesn’t matter, keep reading).

In contrast, my summary (120 words, 656 characters) covers those three key updates, that they are borrowed from Red and Rival, and it provides relevant additional data like weight savings and pricing stasis.

What about Race Coverage?

I don’t do race coverage, and IMO it’s largely become a commodity item with reports written from a dark room after watching/listening to the race online and downloading the results. Which seems perfect for AI race recaps if you don’t need to have your coverage up as soon as the race is over.

Here’s a screenshot of my attempt to get a short summary of the 2022 Paris-Roubaix women’s race. Yes, I should have typed in “Paris-Roubaix Femmes”, but the fact that it didn’t think there was a 2022 event wasn’t a good start…

Chat GPT AI versus journalist comparison for bicycle race report

Calendars are hard. You could say it’s lacking… Annual Intelligence?

Conclusion

I followed up my ENVE MOG chat with this query: “Which other new gravel bikes launched in February 2023?”

Here’s the answer:

chat GPT AI screenshot showing limitations on recency of information it can draw from

This would explain the inability to find results for the 2022 Paris-Roubaix Femmes, which took place in April 2022.

And it explains why there’s no technical details on the new group or bike.

So, technical editors probably have nothing to fear for now, as long as the audience is sophisticated cyclists who nerd out on the details and want the latest information.

My style here is admittedly short, a target of two grafs per product, but even for full length stories, it doesn’t look like Chat GPT is able to pull the important technical details and summarize them. At least not based on this very small experiment.

Assuming Chat GPT gets current, race coverage seems like a good way to do some basic research for a quick summary that’s easy to re-write.

Regardless of the topic, knowing the subject matter well will be key to finding factual errors and filling in the important numbers.

If you’re writing for a general interest publication or content farm, then, yeah, you should be worried:

chat GPT AI results for basic inquiry about how to choose a good gravel bike

This type of general inqury is what a basic person might will definitely type into search, and the results are very generic, but also mostly accurate. For a novice, they’re slightly helpful.

More importantly, this list is a great starting point for a click-bait article that probably saved 30-60 minutes of research and writing. Just fill in a few numbers and stock images and it’s ready to publish.

(Note: I have not tried Bing’s new AI search chat yet, I’m on the waitlist, and will update this post once I’ve tried it)

What’s the takeaway?

Do you want Artifical Intelligence? Or actual intelligence?

As AI content creation gets better, it’s important to remember that it has to pull its info from somewhere. Its sources are going to be a mix of good and bad. So, while it’s super easy to search Google (or Bing), it might be better to search first on a trusted, expert source.

If you like timely, professionally written cycling tech content that’s short, sweet, highly curated, and provides context , you should totally subscribe to The Lunch Ride newsletter.

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